The Dumont family has lost one of our pillars. My sister Pauline passed away just before 2 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 6th, 2014. Her health was poor for many years, still her passing was a blow to the collective heart of all her siblings.
Although perfection is impossible for a human being to attain, at least not in the minute definition of the word, a more perfect “sister” could never be found anywhere on God’s green earth. Pauline sacrificed much for her younger siblings, especially after Mom was stricken with tuberculosis and hospitalized for two years. Pauline did more than take up the slack, she was the protector and guardian of all living in the Dumont household.
Pauline passed away at a time of year when wild strawberries are in blossom and the first crop of dandelions have moulted, transforming them from a plant with a bright yellow head to fragile circles of weightless, delicate spikes who wait for a wind to take them to a place on the land which might welcome them.
I took note of the blossoms and of the moulting dandelions before entering my forest sanctuary where I went to spiritually process the great loss I felt at losing a sister from whom I had learned so much. In my circle I feasted the beings of the spirit world whose love and devotion had directed them to re-assure Pauline that she had nothing to fear in the strange new world she had awoken into.
I can easily imagine the world Pauline found herself in after her body lay motionless on her deathbed and with life forever gone from her heart. I have no doubt she was instantly surrounded by spirit beings who had known her embrace while here on earth, her brothers and dear sister for example, who pre-deceased her. They greeted her as they would the greatest hero. And in this new place of wonder and power, the few of her life’s shortcomings were shed from her soul by the breath of Kichi Manido (God) in the same way the wind pulls the seed puffs from a moulting dandelion. And then in the purest state, free of imperfections, Pauline will reap forevermore the spiritual rewards granted only to people who lived an honourable life.
Pauline was a woman of sacrifice who delighted to be in the presence of babies and toddlers born to members of her own and extended family. She loved her siblings with all her heart. She was the keeper of old family memories and of those times when life was simple and the poor had their own wonderful dignity. Rest in peace, my dear sister. When I see you again, we will pick berries together and feast, sing and dance in a circle of everlasting love.
Dear Albert, I am so sorry for your lost, my thoughts are with you and your family. June 6th we were beginning the women’s rites of passage week-end. As per my own grandmother’ s teaching, women would gather from all surrounding communities to honor themselves and their womanhood, they would put aside their differences, and honor the strawberry who teaches us love and forgiveness. The strawberry moon is the most important Moon of the year for the women. Young girls would step into the young women’s circle to become young women and begin their berry fast and attending the moonlodge once a month. Women who finish their moontime during that year would move into the grandmother’s circle wearing new mocassin as they begin their journey in the path of grandmotherhood and some grandmothers chosen by the elders would step into the elders circle. This year was the first rites of passage gathering since many years and we were 21 women.
How significant your sister’s passing is during that same week-end and I know that somewhere their will be a new strawberry plant growing with her love. I will make sure and honor her life and with your permission mention her name next year as we gather again to honor ourselves during this special time of year. Tobacco is offered, songs and love sent to the family. I will smoke my Poigan to wish her well on her new journey.
Your words are so very appreciated. Yes indeed, please do mention Pauline at your future ceremony. I gave her the name “Little Bird” on the day she died.
Albert “South Wind”
chi migwetch, smoke for Little Bird, may her final passage be gentle x
Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time, please except our condolence.
The Latreille family.
Dear South Wind,
My heart-felt condolences to you and your family. This is a beautiful tribute to your sister. Thank you for these teachings.